Get trained up for this year’s boating season on Kootenay Lake




Captain’s Page

News & FAQ

Commercial Vessel Requirements



Note: Prices quoted are subject to change. Shipping & GST extra. Cash, Internet Transfers, VISA/Master-card accepted! Payment for the course is required on booking. Receipts are provided for tax purposes. Any date changes or cancellations must be made 7 days prior to course. No refunds for No-Shows. Partial refunds are given at the discretion of the owner in special situations only.


Training may be offered at several locations in Victoria and Sidney .  Our new office location is #5-2075 Henry Ave. West Sidney, V8L 1T2. Please call to ensure that the office is open. Classes are held at the same location.


We offer SVOP, ROC-M and MED A 3 courses for any location in Canada. Travel and accommodations are extra and are billed and arranged at time of booking. On-the-water training is done at any location, your boat! Or join us for training aboard our vessel for a cruise ‘n learn using I.S.P.A. courses.  Different size vessels available. Checkout for more information. Spend 5 or 7 days navigating in beautiful B.C. waters. Prepare for your future as a cruising vessel owner or operator.

  SDV-BS , Small Domestic Vessel Basic Safety,  Formerly MED A-3
This course provides basic safety training for crew-members on:

  • Fishing vessels not more than 15 GT.
  • Small passenger vessels (up to 12 passengers), work boats, sport fishing charters.
  • All other Small commercial vessels not more than 15 GT, including passenger vessels, with un-berthed accommodation only, but not including ferries, on Home Trade IV and Minor Waters voyages.

This is an 8-hour course, Formerly known as the MED -A 3,  done in one day. The exam is a simple 25 question multiple choice. You receive your certification upon successful completion. CDN#s are no longer a Mandatory requirement of Transport Canada. You may however apply for one on line. Otherwise please go to your local TC office with your passport, or birth certificate and your drivers license.( No charge).

PRICE: $250.00 per person (includes books), (GST extra).

COURSE DATES:   Classes for 2018:  Jan. 19, Feb. 9 ,( Mar.2 tentative),  Mar. 23, April 20, May 11, June 1 and 22, (no July classes) Aug. 17, Sept. 14, Oct. 12, Nov. 2 and Dec. 7.

Extra classes will be inserted when requested. Private and extra courses will be added any time at the customers location or in Sidney.  A minimum of 8 is required for out of town locations.

SVOP (Small Vessel Operator Proficiency Course)
This is a stand-alone course addressing the particular needs for some minimum standards of training for operators of:

  • Commercial vessels, other than tugs, up to 15 Gross Tonnage operating not more than 25 miles offshore.
  • Fishing vessels up to 15 Gross Tonnage or 12 meters overall length operating not more than 25 miles offshore.
  • Passenger vessels, workboats, sport fishing charters.

This is a 26 hour course and is done in 4 days from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. each day The course ends with a 50-question exam which if successfully completed gives you your certificate. C.D.N. numbers are no longer a Mandatory requirement of Transport Canada. See SDV-BS for link and more information.

The new draft, for the SVOP course changes, has been issued; the course will be increasing to a 32 hour course with possible 6 hour modules for passengers, tug boats or commercial fishing. As yet this has not been finalized.  The target date for the new SVO-C , Small Vessel Operator Certificate is late December 2018. Current SVOP participants will be grandfathered in.

PRICE: $575.00 per person (includes manual, (GST extra).  Students must have parallel rulers and dividers to complete the chart section.  These can be purchased at the time of registration or at class by prior arrangement.


Classes for 2018:  Jan. 20-23, Feb. 10-13,  Mar. 24 to 27, Apr. 21 to 24, May 12 to 15, June 2 to 5 and June 23 to 26, no July classes, Aug. 18 to 21, Sept. 15 to 18, Oct. 13 to 16, Nov. 3 to 6 , Dec. 8 to 11.

(Note: This course certificate qualifies under CSA rules as an Equivalent to the PCOC card.)

Basic Marine First Aid:
Basic Marine First Aid is now offered by Heads-Up Navigation. Instruction is provided by a fully certified Red Cross  instructor. This is a Basic two-day course offering an overview of first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills for the marine/fishing industry. This course meets the requirements of Transport Canada outlined in Transport Publication (TP) 13008. This course meets with requirements for full SVOP certification. Duration: 16hrs, 100% attendance, skills demonstration and 75% minimum on the written exam.  (12 students maximum per class.)   This 3 year certification in MBFA and CPR-C is equivalent to Standard First Aid & CPR-C and AED and is recognized for 5 years by Transport Canada. (A Red Cross First Aid and CPR Manual is supplied to each student at the commencement of classes.)

Courses for Basic Marine First Aid cost $150.00 plus GST. Call to register now.

Dates for 2018 : (NEW: March 19 & 20), (Sorry this class is full March 21 & 22),  April 18 & 19,  May 9 & 10,  June 20 & 21,  Sept. 12 & 13,  Oct. 10 & 11,  Oct. 31 and Nov. 1,  Dec. 5 & 6.   Extra courses will be added as the demand requires. All courses are held at #5-2075 Henry Ave. West, Sidney, BC, V8L 1T2.

Advanced Marine First Aid is available also, call for more information.

ROC-M (VHF)Radio License Courses, Seminars, Exams, and DSC updates
The DSC portion of this license came into effect January of 2006. You will know if your license is current if it is green and includes the phrase “with DSC Endorsement”. This course is offered as a home study or two-part lecture session. The regular exam is 60 questions, multiple-choice with 3 verbal questions asked as well. You must successfully complete all sections of the exam to pass. This course does not require a CDN number but does require ID.

The DSC update is a 20-question multiple-choice exam with three verbal questions and a copy of your current license must be provided. If the old license is lost, you will have to rewrite the entire exam. You will also have to provide proof of ID a passport or license with picture is sufficient.

PRICE: $120.00 per person, manual, CD and exam challenge only (GST extra). Classes: $140.00 per person for a 2-night, or day seminar based on 4 people or more. Includes manual, CD and exam fees, (GST extra).  Call to set up a convenient time.

Seaplane Marine Safety Information Seminar
The Transport Canada Shipping Act, 2001, in its Collision Regulations Act, describes seaplanes as a “vessel” when on or over Canadian waters. This 2 to 3 hour seminar expands on that definition, covers the basic collision regulations followed by vessels on the water and will help to clarify some of the actions that vessels are making every day.

This course is designed for information purposes only. Classes are available for groups or singles and are quoted on an individual basis.

PCOC (Pleasure Craft Operator Cards)
***As of Sept.15, 2009, all operators of powered (fuel or electric) boats must have a PCOC.

  • If you are under the age of 12 and unaccompanied and unsupervised by a person 16 years of age or older, you are not allowed to operate a boat with an engine more powerful than 7.5 kw (10 hp).
  • If you are at least 12 years of age but not yet 16 years old and unaccompanied and unsupervised by a person 16 years of age or older you are not allowed to operate a boat with an engine more powerful than 30 kw (40hp).
  • If you are under the age of 16, you may not operate a personal watercraft. (PWC) No Exemptions!
  • Any person operating a powered recreational vessel less than 4 meters (13-1/2 Feet) (this includes personal watercraft) must have a PCOC.
  • Foreign visitors who have a pleasure boat in Canada will be granted a grace period of 45 consecutive days, after that they must obtain a PCOC card.
  • People renting a vessel will be required to complete a dockside checklist.

PRICE: Private courses are $140 per person, GST extra., minimum of 5 per group. Individual group rates are negotiated.  Home Study: Manuals $30.., Exam Challenge $60. (GST extra)

A little Kootenay Lake boating history for you…

This is a fascinating website outlining the history of ferries on Kootenay Lake.  From first hand stories in hisotry, to the tradition routes and all about each ferry itself.  Welcome to the Sternwheelers of Kootenay Lake exhibit. Explore the boats that once plied the Lake through photos and stories. The map provides points of interest along the routes taken by the boats throughout their history. Be sure to checkout the bibliography and links for more information on the history of the area and more technical specifications of the various boats.  Visit Sternwheelers of Kootenay Lake

Make your commitment today and help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species! (Enter your info in the form below) 

ISCBC asks all boaters and outdoor recreation enthusiasts to commit to following the Clean Drain Dry principles of as soon their boat or watercraft is removed from the water:

  1. CLEAN off all plant parts, animals, and mud from boat and equipment (e.g. boots, waders, fishing gear). Use a power wash station if available.
  2. DRAIN onto land all items that can hold water (e.g. buckets, wells, bilge, and ballast).
  3. DRY all items completely before launching into another body of water.

Learn more – see Clean Drain Dry Webinars

Clean Drain Dry training is open to both the general public and Clean Drain Dry Ambassadors, and consists of a series of narrated presentations about aquatic invasive species and the Clean Drain Dry program. To become a Clean Drain Dry Ambassador, click here or see link below.

Learn more about how to protect our waterways from invasive species at:

For more information about ISCBC’s Clean Drain Dry program, contact Sue Staniforth, Aquatics Manager or call ISCBC 1-888-933-3722.

Kootenay Lake Ferry Terminal Issues – Update

Balfour Public Wharf

Kootenay Lake Ferry Terminal Issues Overview

Compliments of the East Shore Mainstreet
This brief is intended to bring to the attention of the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Minister of Environment, MoTI Marine Branch senior personnel, and local Kootenay Lake east and west shore residents and businesses, serious deficiencies and oversights attendant to the recent MoTI decision to maintain the Kootenay Lake ferry western terminal at its present location in Balfour rather than to relocate it to Queens Bay North. These ignored or inadequately addressed concerns include serious highway and marine safety issues, major unaccounted project costs, environmental and ecological impact, and deficiencies in the public consultation process.
MoTI , in its decision, has ignored or given insufficient weight to the recommendations of Ministry commissioned relocation feasibility studies. Those reports unequivocally and unanimously conclude that the Kootenay Lake ferry should be relocated to Queens Bay North Site 2, an undeveloped Crown shoreline area adjacent to highway 31 approximately three km north of the current terminal.
The Balfour Ferry Terminal Relocation Project Feasibility Study (SNC Lavalin) 2016 study states its unreserved and unequivocal recommendation of a relocation to Queens Bay North Site 2 commenting “The results of the study indicated that the relocation of the Balfour ferry terminal to Queens Bay North was not only technically feasible, it was a superior choice when critically compared under the categories of safety, service, community/stakeholder impact, environmental impact, and financial.”
The SNC Lavalin study further states “The Queens Bay North location improves both highway and marine safety. The location would be able to manage future vehicle growth predictions without the need for highway queuing, and would enhance the service levels with one ferry instead of requiring two ferries to achieve peak demand requirements.” It concludes that regarding service, it provides a 40% savings in transit time with hourly service year round, “In addition, the service level will be significantly improved by the shorter water route reducing the current 50 minute transit time to 30 minutes”.
Also unaddressed are the full range of social and economic impacts to both east and west shore residents arising from the present decision. Additionally, an alarming lack of foresight and intent in MoTI planning and consultation has resulted in the absence of foreshore reclamation and enhancement proposals relevant to the now rejected Queens Bay alternative. These would have served to mitigate economic impact on Balfour businesses and would have provided recreational opportunities for local residents and travellers alike.
The Auditor General has previously stressed the need for thorough assessment of total cumulative effects of government initiated public and approved private sector projects. The recent, highly questionable , MoTI Marine Branch process and decision have failed to do so.
It is requested that the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure instruct the Marine Branch to suspend further progress on Balfour terminal improvements, including dredging, until a comprehensive review of the present decision and alternatives to it can be performed.

Kootenay Lake Water Levels

Queen’s Bay: 1741.31 feet (530.75 meters) as of Apr 29 2018 19:02:12
Nelson: 1740.30 feet (530.44 meters) as of Apr 29 2018 19:02:12

Lake level forecast – Apr 26, 2018:
Kootenay Lake is forecast to increase to 1744.90 by May 5, 2018. Average Daily Kootenay River Discharge at Brilliant for Apr 28 2018:  30200 cfs (cubic feet per second)

News – Apr 26, 2018:
FortisBC is advising customers that the Kootenay Lake Board of Control has declared that the spring rise has begun as of April 25, 2018. Please be advised that during this time, Kootenay Lake levels are predominately driven by natural inflows as a result of melting snow pack and precipitation, and are subject to sudden, large increases. In order to help mitigate peak lake levels, FortisBC has been operating the Kootenay River system at the maximum discharge since early March and will continue to do so until after the lake peaks. Due to the current snow pack conditions there is an elevated risk of the lake peaking above 1752 feet at Queens Bay. For information on emergency flood preparedness, contact your local authorities or visit the Emergency Management BC website at

Click on the link below for further information

Freshwater Fisheries Notice for Kootenay Lake

In-season changes current to January 31, 2018

as per the Fish and Wildlife Branch:

NOTE: These changes are IN ADDITION TO the published regulations unless noted otherwise here. Be sure to check the published regulations as found in the online version of the 2017-2019 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis.

Water In-Season Change Effective Dates
Kootenay Lake – Upper West Arm Kokanee release all year, EXCEPT April 1- 3, May1-3 , June 1-3 and July 1-3

NOTE: The combined daily quota for kokanee from the Upper West Arm (when open to kokanee harvest) and the Lower West Arm (when open to kokanee harvest) cannot exceed 5.

April 1, 2018
Kootenay Lake – Main Body Increasing the bull trout daily quota from 1 to 2 (only one of which may be > 50cm). Increasing the trout/char daily quota from 4 to 5. February 1, 2018
Upper West Arm of Kootenay Lake Kokanee release all year, EXCEPT Apr 1-Apr 2, May 1-May 2, June 1-June 2, and July 1-July 2 when kokanee daily quota = 5.

NOTE: the combined daily quota for kokanee from the Upper West Arm (when open to kokanee harvest) and the Lower West Arm (when open to kokanee harvest) cannot exceed 5.

April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018

New daily quota for Rainbow & Bull Trout fishing increases on Kootenay Lake


Effective Feb. 1, 2018, daily quotas for rainbow and bull trout harvest on the main body of Kootenay Lake will be increased to support long-term kokanee conservation efforts and recovery of the Kootenay Lake fishery.

The daily quota for bull trout will increase from one to two (only one over 50 centimetres), and the quota for trout/char will be raised from four to five, to be consistent with the rest of the water bodies in the region.

Increasing rainbow and bull-trout harvest is consistent with recommendations in the Kootenay Lake Action Plan to recover Kootenay Lake kokanee stocks. Kokanee are considered “inland salmon”. Gerrard rainbow trout and bull trout rely on kokanee as a food source. Population and diet trends indicate rainbow and bull trout populations are contributing to kokanee mortality rates that are much higher than normal.

Kokanee represent a fishery resource and are an important part of the natural ecosystem. The ministry and its partners will continue efforts to ensure the long-term health of kokanee populations.

Learn More:

Find the Kootenay Lake Action Plan and other Kootenay Lake information here:

For more information on freshwater fish and fishing in B.C., visit:

Get Ready for the Upcoming Kootenay Lake Easter Fishing Derby….


Location: Kootenay Lake, British Columbia, Canada
When: March 30 to Apr 1, 2018
Stay Tuned for Details
Woodbury Resort is the host of the two most popular yearly fishing derby’s on the lake, the “Dolly Derby” held during Easter weekend and the “Rainbow Derby” held during the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend. Fishermen from many provinces and states arrive to compete for money, prizes, and bragging rights. Many come back year after year for the friendly competition, good times, and of course the wind up party.
Official Website: